Order of operations for pasture improvement

4 posts

Member for

7 years 8 months
Last seen: 03/08/2018 - 21:05
Joined: 09/28/2016 - 13:37

Order of operations for pasture improvement

Hi there, I am new to this forum. We have a hobby farm in NSW northern rivers.

I have a south facing slope in the cattle/horse paddock which has been overrun by blady grass and weeds. I have spent the last couple of seasons selectively spraying broadleaf weeds and slashing. With spring here I plan to oversow the area with Rhodes grass and Millet. The point of the millet would be to get up quickly for some early summer feed and shade out the weeds. Will it also shade out the establishing Rhodes grass too much?


My plan was (to minimse labour):

1. graze cattle then move on

2. wait for predicted rainfall

3. broadcast seed (Rhodes/Millet mix)/superphos using fertiliser spreader off tractor

3. use the ride on mower (to known down any of the post-grazing stubble/blady grass/weeds) and tow behind the pasture harrows to lightly cover the seeds.


this would be only 2 passes over the pasture. Although i do worry the broadcast seed would be blown away by the mower blades....


Alternatively I could mow first, then bradcast seed, then harrow finally. But this is 3 passes over pasture so more labour.


4. then rest and allow first grazing when millet gets up to allow some light in to Rhodes.


any advice or reassurance on the above would be appreciated.


Thanks, Pat 

Last seen: 09/17/2019 - 18:07
Joined: 11/23/2011 - 09:38

Hi Pat,

If you can get a permit, cool burn the paddock after rain This puts pottasium into the soil. Then you can either lightly Yoeman plough it, or run the tines over it to lightly scratch the surface of the ground. 3. spread coated rhodes with possibly a mix of coated clover or stylo (to add natural Nitrogen to the soild because they produce it in the roots due to the simbiotic relationship with certain bacteria. The coated seeds do not blow away like uncoated seed does and you won't need to plough it in. As a DPI Qld field officer told me, you need to at least scratch the surface when planting seed. This helps to release sulphur in the soil which will help boost plant growth. 

Hope this helps.

Last seen: 03/17/2020 - 14:07
Joined: 10/11/2019 - 10:41

Excellent advise Barb - i know many farmers chain harrow in pastures by harrowing, then broadcast seed then incorporate the seed with another pass with he Harrow. I've heard the Redback chain Harrows work well for this and for keeping pasture in good condition.

Last seen: 12/26/2018 - 09:21
Joined: 05/31/2011 - 09:44

Hi Pat,

Welcome to the forum. 

My thoughts are that the millet will out compete the rhodes grass, millet is fast establishing whilst rhodes is very slow. Regarding the establishment method, the best way for seedling's to establish is with the seed placed firmly 10mm in the soil. Is it possible for you to spray, graze hard and then sow the rhodes grass (plus fertiliser) with a direct drill (disc or tyne). By using a direct drill this will minimise soil disturbance and reduce the risk of another weed invasion.



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